It is some years now since I rented via Manning Stainton, but the appalling experience has stayed with me and I am glad now to have the chance to write a review and warn off would-be tenants and scrupulous landlords. During the tenancy Manning Stainton tried to blame me for a faulty washing machine which repeatedly broke down. Eventually I stayed home to see the plumber when he visited, and he assured me it was not my fault at all...but they had been trying to pass on the charges pretending it was.
More seriously, I left the property in immaculate condition when I moved out. The curtains had been taken down, cleaned and ironed before being put up. Surfaces had been scrubbed. Windows cleaned. The works. Together with my parents and friends of theirs, we spent days getting everything in order and going through their moving out list. Despite this, a large amount of the deposit was withheld. This was before the days of deposit guarantee schemes. The estate agent used a firm to "inspect" the property, but this firm was clearly paid by them and therefore not at all independent. I have no idea how long after I left the property they went in, but the complaints included things like "light dust on the shelves". The whole experience undermined my confidence in renting. What is the point in making such an effort if they charge you anyway?
When I had originally rented the property, there was a friendly note from the landlords, a couple who had decided to rent rather than sell when they moved. My impression was that the landlords themselves were thoroughly decent people who would be appalled to know how their tenant was treated. Unfortunately, there was a clause in the contract banning me from contacting them directly. I hope they read this. And I hope other tenants take it as a warning.
What agent could do to change your mind?
I simply hope this agent has new staff and a new approach. Websites like this one will force agents to behave more honestly.